With NFL 25 seasons under his belt as a coach, Gary Kubiak has announced his retirement. The former head coach of the Denver Broncos who brought home Super Bowl 50 for the team and contributed to two other World Championships released a statement on Thursday.
"It's been the honor of my lifetime to work for 36 seasons as an NFL player and coach," Kubiak said in a statement. "I've been on a football field for most of my life, and now I look forward to stepping away from the game and enjoying more time with my family and friends.
"I offer my sincere thanks to the owners and fans of the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers for giving me opportunities to be a part of this great game and for treating me and my family so well over the years.
"I'll miss the competition, the planning, game days and being part of a team. But, more than anything, I'll cherish the friendships I've made along the way with players, coaches and staff. I love the game of football and will forever be its biggest fan."
Kubiak was an eighth-round pick of the Broncos' back in 1983 out of Texas A&M. He joined the team the same year that John Elway did and served as his backup for nine seasons.
The two would reunite a few years after Kubiak retired from playing to enter the coaching ranks when Kubiak would follow Mike Shanahan to Denver to serve as QBs coach and offensive coordinator. But before that, Kubiak won a Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers as Steve Young's position coach in 1994.
Kubiak would help Shanahan perfect the zone-blocking scheme in Denver, built on the bones of Bill Walsh's West Coast Offense. Kubiak departed Denver in 2006 to become the head coach of the Houston Texans, where he would preside for the next seven seasons.
Kubiak led the Texans to the club's first playoff appearance in 2011 and again in 2012, winning in the Wildcard Round in both years before being bounced in the Divisional. Following a health scare in 2013, Kubiak was relieved of his duties as head coach.
Meanwhile, two years prior, Elway had rejoined the Broncos as the V.P of football operations and GM. With Kubiak set up as the head man in Houston, Elway hired John Fox, but after the Broncos' embarrassing loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Round of the playoffs following the 2014 season, Elway parted ways in hopes of landing his old partner Kubiak, who'd taken the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator job in 2014.
Kubiak was hired as the Broncos' 15th head coach all-time and went on to lead the team to Super Bowl 50, juggling a quarterback controversy between Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler along the way, and defeating the Carolina Panthers 24-10 at Levi Stadium to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Kubiak returned the next year, but with Manning's retirement following the Super Bowl and Osweiler's defection to Houston, the Broncos eeked by with the remnants of their World Champion defense and Trevor Siemian at quarterback. After a 9-7 finish, which did not qualify the Broncos for the playoffs, Kubiak resigned as head coach.
For the next two years, Kubiak served as a senior personnel advisor to Elway in the Broncos front office while Vance Joseph succeeded him as head coach. When Vic Fangio was hired to replace Joseph in 2019, there was talk of Kubiak returning to the Broncos' coaching ranks to serve as offensive coordinator, and though that was Elway's desire, it didn't appear that Fangio was on the same page.
Kubiak broke with the Broncos and was hired by Mike Zimmer to serve as the Minnesota Vikings assistant head coach and offensive advisor. When Kevin Stefanski left his post as the Vikings' offensive coordinator to take the head job in Cleveland, Kubiak stepped into his job fully.
The Vikings didn't have a great year as a team, despite Kubiak leading the offense to a No. 4 rank in total yards, No. 5 in rushing, and No. 11 in scoring. Minnesota finished 7-9, missing the playoffs, mostly due to its lackluster defense.
At 59 years old, Kubiak is retiring from the NFL coaching ranks but he does so with a wildly successful resume that includes three Super Bowl rings as an assistant and one as a head coach. He retires with a head-coaching record of 82-75 (.522) in the regular season, a 5-2 (.714) record in the playoffs, and a career record of 87-77 (.530).
Hats off to Coach Kubiak for his enormous impact on the destiny of the Denver Broncos.